14.3 Dynamic Measurements of the Lowest 10 meters of Tornadoes

Thursday, 9 November 2006: 2:00 PM
St. Louis AB (Adam's Mark Hotel)
Timothy M. Samaras, Applied Research Associates, Inc., Littleton, CO

The lowest 10 meters of tornado cores represents a significant challenge for measurements due to the extreme difficulties of data collection. Mobile Doppler radar cannot effectively ‘see' down to the ground due to obstructions due to structures and local terrain. Direct measurements using traditional instrumentation would simply not survive the hostile conditions of tornadoes.

In-situ measurements of tornado cores are important for the understanding of low level (0-10 meters) wind speed dynamics, and their effects on structures. The only data that is available for analysis is the investigation of the damage path after tornado passage.

Thermodynamic measurements of tornado cores is also important, as the data would provide clues to the immediate environment the tornado vortex is ingesting. Datasets can offer insight to tornado genesis, maturity, and dissipation.

The past four years, the author has developed a suite of different instruments to address the difficult issue of tornado core measurements. These hardened instruments are designed to be deployed directly in the paths of tornadoes. They offer measurements of temperature, pressure, humidity, wind speed and direction. Other newly developed instruments provide excellent visualization of tornado core passage for photogrammetric analysis of debris and three dimensional wind speed characterization.

These instruments have been successfully deployed in tornado cores the past several years. The author will present the results/analysis of these measurements, and will discuss present and future goals of these measurements.

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